Food industry calls on Government to change battery egg trade deal

By William Dodds

- Last updated on GMT

Tariffs on battery farmed eggs are set to be phased out over the next 10 years
Tariffs on battery farmed eggs are set to be phased out over the next 10 years

Related tags Eggs Government imports Food safety BEIC

Relaxation of egg import regulations could see lower quality products flooding the UK market, food industry bodies have warned.

The UK Government is facing backlash from food organisations after it agreed to a trade deal that would slash tariffs on battery farmed eggs being imported into the country.

The British Egg Industry Council (BEIC), Compassion in World Farming and the RSPCA have joined forces to call for the ‘Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership’ (CPTPP) to be altered, as it did not grant eggs ‘sensitive product status’.

This means that eggs from countries which permit battery cage farming systems could be imported into the UK at a much-reduced price, despite such methods being made illegal in the UK in 2012.

With tariffs on these products set to be phased out over the next 10 years as part of the agreement, egg producers in the UK that operate under strict food safety and animal welfare standards would be put at a cost disadvantage.

This is despite Leader of the House of Commons Penny Mordaunt MP recently claiming that the UK was planning on strengthening its animal welfare standards.

Undermining UK egg industry

BEIC chief executive Mark Williams described the Government’s decision as “unbelievable​” and said that shoppers would be “horrified​”.

To rubber stamp a deal which effectively sanctions the importation of eggs from conventional (battery) caged systems which are outlawed here is not only counter-intuitive, but it also completely undermines the countrywide standards that are adhered to by the UK egg industry​,” Williams added.

This particularly affects the egg products sector which could see the importation of low welfare eggs, whilst UK egg farmers rightly continue to invest in ensuring higher welfare standards for their birds​.”

Meanwhile, Compassion in World Faming UK head Dr Nick Palmer said: “Without adequate tariffs to only allow imported eggs produced to UK standards, the doors will be wide open for powdered and liquid eggs from countries with lower or no animal welfare standards – this is not what UK consumers expect of our government, which promotes high standards of hen welfare, environmental protection and food safety​.”

In other news, meat manufacturer Dovecote Park is hoping to expand its facilities onto green belt land​.

Related topics Food Safety

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